Life in Temporary and Scattered Work Practices
Edited by Torben Elgaard Jensen and Ann Westenholz
Chapter 1: The culturalization of work in the 'new' economy: an historical view
1. The culturalization of work in the ‘new’ economy: an historical view Liz McFall INTRODUCTION Each of us is aware, emotionally and intellectually, that we are potentially unemployed, potentially underemployed, potentially insecure or temporary workers, potential ‘part-timers’. … the central figure of our society – and the ‘normal’ condition within that society – is no longer (or is tending no longer to be) that of the ‘worker’. It is becoming rather the figure of the insecure worker … (Gorz 1999, p. 53) Gorz’s measured summation of what is happening to work and working identities in the ‘new’ – that is to say, knowledge- or information-based – economy, resonates with much that has been written on the subject. The scenarios that different authors describe range from the wildly optimistic to the cataclysmically bleak, deploying styles and evidence ranging from apocalyptic hyperbole to dense, statistically informed projection. Perhaps the only point on which there is widespread agreement is that substantive restructuring of the economy at a global level is underway, occasioned by an increasing dependence on knowledge or information resources; and that this will, in fact has already begun to, irretrievably transform the character of work. The scale and scope of economic restructuring mean that its effects are to be felt not just upon employment and work but on the entire ‘social landscape of human life’ (Castells 2000, p. 1). This transformation is too profound to put down to simple historical change; rather, a sense of a complete break or rupture with the past pervades much of the...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.